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BRAIDS "Native Speaker" LP Streaming Now

BRAIDS was formed by four best friends in their last year of High School in Calgary, Alberta. Convincing one another to skip university, they stayed in the garage all year and practiced obsessively, even while their fingers froze during the cold prairie winters. Then, at only 18 years old, they took the bold step of moving across the country together to Montreal, where they began crafting their self recorded/self produced debut album Native Speaker.

Oscillating between density and spaciousness, BRAIDS' sound is not easy to define. The four members construct music which is ample and rolling, perhaps alluding to the landscapes of their youth, but filled with radical texture and startling immediacy, an influence of their more recent surroundings. Delicate layering gives their experimental pop epics just enough breath to playfully explore the depth of ambient melody. Though BRAIDS dives into moments of deep obscurity and sonic experimentation, there remains embedded within the music the hypnosis of an unforgettable pop tune.

Native Speaker, is the accumulation of months of meticulous craft-work to properly capture the band's entrancing live performance. The albums' songs were tested and shaped through numerous performances and lyrical massages, resulting in work that is brilliant in detail and structure. Averaging over 6 minutes and never coming in under 4, the tracks on Native Speaker maintain a deep seeded focus.


BRAIDS has an unusually collaborative dynamic, generating all of their sweeping sounds live in a synergistic maelstrom. Even their name, BRAIDS, evokes a feeling of something continuous and progressive, yet lush and intertwining. It implies the interweaving of all four members' musical ideas, favoring collective and equal input.

On January 18, 2011 BRAIDS is putting forth their debut album Native Speaker, a reflection of coming of age for the four intricately linked musicians. It captures a period of innocence and a period of change, yet comes off as strikingly mature beyond their years. Most importantly, it displays a yearning and striving to break through, an ambitious debut for a young band just getting started.

Click Here To Listen To "Native Speaker" on Hype Machine

BRAIDS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES:

01-20 Montreal QC - La Sala Rossa RECORD RELEASE PARTY
01-21 Ottawa, ON - Mavericks
01-22 Quebec, QC - Le Cercle
01-27 Laval, QC - Studio Theatre Maison Des Arts
01-28 Kingston, ON - The Grad Club
01-30 Cincinnati, OH - MOTR Pub
01-31 Louisville, KY - Zanzabar
02-01 St. Louis, MO - The Old Rock House
02-02 Norman, OK - Opolis
02-04 Dallas, TX - Club Dada *$
02-05 Austin, TX - The Mohawk *$
02-07 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade *$
02-08 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder *$
02-09 West Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern *$
02-11 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *$
02-12 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory *$
02-13 Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie *$
02-16 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge *$
02-17 Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *$
02-18 Montreal, Quebec - Il Motore *$
02-19 Toronto, ON - El Mocambo *$
02-21 Columbus, OH - Skully's Music Diner *$
02-22 Urbana, IL - Canopy Club *$
02-23 Iowa City, IA - Gabe's *$
02-24 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry *$
02-25 Madison, WI - Der Rathskellar (University of Wisconsin) *$
02-26 Chicago, IL - Subterranean *$
03-01 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey *
03-02 Portland, OR - Holocene *
03-03 Arcata, CA - Jambalaya *$
03-04 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop *
03-05 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *
03-10 Costa Mesa, CA - Detroit Bar %
03-11 San Diego, CA - Casbah %
03-12 Las Vegas, NV - Neon Reverb Festival %
03-14 Santa Fe, NM - Corazon %
03-21 Tempe, AZ - Sail Inn !~
03-26 Kennewick, WA - The Red Room !~
03-28 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret !
04-06 Bloomington, IN - The Bishop !
04-13 Baltimore, MD - Talking Head !

* Baths
$ Star Slinger
% Asobi Seksu
! Toro Y Moi ~ Cloud Nothings

Kraddy's 2011 Labyrinth Tour w/ Archnemesis @ the Fox

The Los Angeles-based electronic-music Don known as Kraddy has always brought the undiluted sound of the underground to new audiences. From his work as a founding member of the infamous Glitch Mob to his groundbreaking solo work, Kraddy (born Matthew Kratz) has always been known for shattering genre conventions while moving crowds everywhere from Red Rocks to L.A.’s famed Low End Theory club. From his breakthrough 2008 hit “Android Porn” to the innovative bangers comprising his latest e.p. Labyrinth (Alpha Pup), Kraddy continues to hybridize hip-hop, dubstep and dancehall with face-melting panache and rock and roll bravado. But the man himself was as surprised as anyone when the mainstream crossed over to him.

With its epic melody, dramatic builds, and speaker-shuddering bass drops, “Android Porn” was hailed as the anthem of the decidedly maverick “glitch hop” movement, getting remixed by everyone from Mochipet to breakbeat icon Si Begg. Soon, however, the song started appearing beyond the sweaty, crowded dancefloors that are Kraddy’s mainstay, getting licensed for TV shows like “America’s Best Dance Crew” and “America’s Got Talent”; a Hungarian dance troupe’s outrageous performance to the track quickly became a YouTube sensation. Having a format-obliterating viral smash made it easier when it became clear his alliance with West Coast electronic-music legends the Glitch Mob was ending. “It was an amicable split—we all agreed I’m more of a solo artist,” Kraddy recalls. “With the Mob, it was hard to have a clear voice; I was restrained—it grew apparent that I had a different vision then they did. ‘Android Porn’ kicked a door open in my mind, and I saw a whole host of new possibilities.”

Indeed, those fresh avenues are explored to the fullest on Kraddy’s latest e.p. Labyrinth, overflowing with grandiose symphonics, soulful emotion, pounding rhythm and crunching low end. “My new material had to cause blunt force trauma,” he explains. “These songs are as heartfelt as it gets, but chug like a locomotive. I just love hotwiring thick analog grunge with those unexpected digital tweaks.” Labyrinth also represents Kraddy’s new association with the revered Alpha Pup label, home to future-music geniuses like Nosaj Thing and Free The Robots. “I really wanted to work with Alpha Pup,” Kraddy says. “[Label founder] Daddy Kev is a visionary: he always has a vista of what’s going to happen next with music, and I wanted to be a part of that.”

Labyrinth signifies the pinnacle of a musical evolution that began when Kraddy moved from his native New York to San Francisco. He soon became a mainstay of that city’s beat scene: changing the game with his 2003 debut album, Truth Has No Path, Kraddy continued to gain notoriety with a series of unorthodox releases, from “Faux Show” (a raw remix of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”) to his second full-length, The Illegal Album, which fused Kraddy’s radical production chops with classic hip-hop/dancehall a capellas. Moving to L.A while releasing notable remixes for the Infesticons and Mochipet and a series of coveted bootleg mashups and mixtapes all built to Kraddy’s latest evolution, which has moved beyond pure electronics: his live shows will soon feature a live drummer, taking Kraddy even closer to a style he calls “Led Zeppelin 3000.” “It’s full and epic and shameless, but Kraddy-style,” he laughs. “That’s what I’ve always want to do, and now I’m doing it.”

Tickets are on sale at Fox Theatre Box Office. Call (303) 443-3399 for tickets by phone.

Tickets are also available through our website @ www.foxtheatre.com.

$12 adv/ $15 dos

Tickets Are On Sale NOW!!

Jon Hardy & the Public to release 'A Hard Year'

Acclaimed purveyors of resonating Americana, Jon Hardy & the Public prepare for the January 25 release of a new stand-out EPA Hard Year - continuing their tradition of being St. Louis' "best kept secret" and announce a very special hometown show to celebrate!

Jon Hardy’s voice is deep and true, expressing yearning, pain, and triumph all at the same time. The St. Louis singer/songwriter and his band, The Public, make music that has bowled over critics at outlets like NPR, No Depression and hometown weekly Riverfront Times. “I asked fellow music writer Roy Kasten to name a better song than Hardy’s ‘Cassius Clay’ to come out of St. Louis since Uncle Tupelo’s ‘Gun,’” wrote that paper’s Christian Schaefer. “He couldn’t.”

Indeed, the group’s Americana-rooted sound often draws comparisons to Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar’s early work, though it also incorporates horn-driven soul and stomping, anthemic rock a la Bruce Springsteen. Also featuring Glenn Labarre on lead guitar, Johnny Kidd on keyboards, Greg Shadwick on bass and Mike Schurk on drums, The Public are also influenced by Randy Newman, and released a four song cover EP of his tracks called Little Criminals. “There’s something in his voice that gives me the impression that he’s on the outside looking in, that he’s not invited to the party,” says Hardy. “His songs are comforting and troubling all at the same time.”

This uneasy combination was recently featured as NPR’s Song of the Day with the single “Worst I Ever Had”. “Brilliantly capturing that desperate feeling lying somewhere between lust and fear,” wrote NPR’s Ben Westhoff, “the group shows why they probably won’t be simply regional favorites for much longer.”

The two EPs followed the group’s 2005 debut Make Me Like Gold, which No Depression writer Ed Ward said was “about as original as any grass-roots recording by a guitar-based band is going to get at this late date” and their 2007 disc Working In Love. That album featured the show-stopping “Cassius Clay” and songs concerning Hardy’s recent divorce; in many ways the album was a letter to his ex-wife. “That was the best way I knew to tell her what I was thinking and feeling,” he says.
In recent years, Jon Hardy & The Public have performed with acclaimed acts including Okkervil River, The Avett Brothers, White Denim, John Vanderslice, Pernice Brothers and White Rabbits and drawn comparisons to Spoon. Their music has been played on college and community radio stations from coast to coast.
Hardy was raised in Webster Groves, just outside of St. Louis, by a Presbyterian preacher father and a mother whose work included substitute teaching. “It was a strange mix of liberal and conservative,” Hardy says. “My dad would always spend time reading to us about the civil rights movement. At the same time, TV was not smiled upon and music was carefully reviewed.” Having grown up on his parents’ classic rock and pop records, he taught himself guitar largely from listening to blues players like Lightnin’ Hopkins and B.B. King on local radio.
His first band was a power pop outfit called Shelby. “I remember I was very afraid of being in front of people and performing,” he says. “I don’t know that I’ve completely gotten over it.” An odd thing to say, as Jon Hardy & The Public’s shows have the inspirational quality of a revival meeting worthy of his father. Often featuring a full horns section and a faithful cover of Springsteen’s “Rosalita (Come Out Tonight),” they are largely responsible for the band’s considerable grassroots following in the Midwest.
Shadwick joined the group not long before he and Hardy were laid off from their jobs. He joined Labarre (a former fan of the band who came aboard shortly after Make Me Like Gold), Kidd (who brought a soul and pop aesthetic to the group) and Schurk, who answered a craigslist ad and bested other potential stickmen in a try-out. All five members collaborate on their albums’ stunning production, which highlights each member’s considerable musicianship without sacrificing their raw power.
Hardy makes it clear that he and The Public are dedicated to making quality tracks that stand the test of time. “We all still have to work other jobs to pay the bills, and in the meantime we’re trying to create good music,” he says. He’s also firmly rooted in his community, penning songs largely for himself and his friends. It just so happens that these tunes -- in all their rumbling power -- resonate with folks he’s never met. A sound as big as theirs, it turns out, has a hard time being contained.

Al Bell gets Grammy Trustees Award

The Memphis Music Foundation and the Stax Museum of American Soul Music, located at the original site of Stax Records, proudly congratulate Al Bell on receiving the highest honor the music industry offers, the 2011 Grammy Trustees Award, given by the Board of Trustees of the Recording Academy. Bell now joins the pantheon of musical icons who have received the prestigious honor, including the Beatles, Walt Disney, George and Ira Gershwin, Berry Gordy, Duke Ellington, and Stax Records’ co-founder Estelle Axton.

For Bell, the honor represents a milestone in his lifetime love of music and work in the industry.

“The phone call I received from Neil Portnow, president of NARAS’ Grammy Foundation, letting me know that I was going to be a recipient of the Trustees Lifetime Achievement Award,” says Bell, “was both humbling and honoring. This is the most meaningful recognition I could have ever hoped to achieve from my industry. I sincerely thank NARAS and the Grammy Foundation for honoring me with their highest award.”

In 1965, a young radio disc jockey from Brinkley, Arkansas named Alvertis Isbell joined a fledging record company in Memphis, Tennessee to help promote the music it was churning out in an old converted movie theater. That small label was Stax Records and Al Bell became known to be one of the driving forces who helped change music history. Decades later, in 2009, he became the chairman of the board of directors of the Memphis Music Foundation (MMF), the main organization charged with promoting the city’s musical legacy, current artists, and future plans.

“This is great news for Al Bell and Memphis Music,” said Dean Deyo, president of the Memphis Music Foundation. “Al started developing young artists during his Stax days over 40 years ago and continues to nurture artist development as chairman of the Memphis Music Foundation.  Memphis music is something very special and one of the main reasons for its success has been Al Bell.  It just may be a bit early to give him a Lifetime Achievement Award, because he is not done yet.  Al Bell is just getting started.”

Kirk Whalum, internationally renowned musician and 12-time Grammy nominee, now CEO for the Soulsville Foundation in Memphis, which includes the Stax Museum, Stax Music Academy and The Soulsville Charter School, explains, “There's a very good reason that the name Al Bell is mentioned, the voice of Al Bell is heard, and the handsome and distinguished face of Al Bell is seen more than any other name, voice, and face in the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. It's because of his body of work. Yes he remains a creative, viable, and avant-garde force in the industry. But who wouldn't give a limb to have all his ‘firsts’ and accomplishments in one’s rearview mirror?”

From 1965 until the company was forced into involuntary bankruptcy in 1975, Bell helped build Stax Records into one of the most influential labels in the world, working with artists such as Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Johnnie Taylor, Sam & Dave, Booker T. & the MGs, the Bar Kays, Richard Pryor, and a host of others. He also produced and wrote such hits as the Staple Singers’ “I’ll Take You There.”  When Bell owned Stax in the 1970s, it was the second-largest African-American owned business in the United States. After the company’s demise, he went on to serve as president of Motown Records Group, and later started his own Bellmark Records label, releasing Prince’s top-selling song ever, “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” and Tag Team’s multi-platinum hit “Whoomp! (There It is),” one of the best-selling rap singles in history. Bell now operates his own web-based music channel, AlBellPresents.com.

For Isbell, given the name Al Bell in 1957 as radio announcer in Little Rock, Arkansas,  whose famous radio sign-on was “This is your 6-feet-4 bundle of joy, 212 pounds of Mrs. Bell’s baby boy, soft as medicated cotton, rich as double-X cream, the women’s pet, the men’s threat, the play boys pride and joy, the baby boy Al Bell,” — the Grammy Award not only marks his lifetime of work in the music industry, but also gives more fuel to what he plans to do now and in the future.

“When Mr. Portnow said ‘Lifetime Achievement Award,” Bell continues, “I didn’t think about my past. It sounded prophetic. Because what has happened to me is that I’ve begun to pursue that which I have learned in life and I’m about the business of achieving it. It’s a beginning for me. With this award and through my role with the Memphis Music Foundation, I am beginning my lifetime evolvement and development in the recorded music industry.”

Fleck, Harrison, Wooten Adore Jake Shimabukuro

Critics have raved about the artistry Jake Shimabukuro displays on 'Peace Love Ukulele' (out January 4th from Hitchhike Records). The New Yorker said that "in his hands... the ukulele becomes a source of beauty, power, and inspiration."

Jake's fellow musicians agree. Here's what some of them had to say:

"The way Jake plays the 'ukulele is amazing and beautiful... he's a special musician." - Bela Fleck

"To say that Jake is incredible is not enough. He is much more than that. His music takes you on a journey. He plays with so much expression, feeling, and soul; it's like he's an old man in a young man's body. It only takes one listen to understand exactly what I'm saying." - Victor Wooten

"George felt liberated playing the uke and loved it because it made everyone smile. I especially love Jake's versions of George's songs." - Olivia Harrison

"It gives me a great deal of satisfaction to know that I was able to contribute in some way to the rest of the world hearing Jake play. From the moment I first heard his amazing style and watched the audience reaction in a club on the waterfront in Honolulu, I knew he was a unique and universal talent. We all at Mailboat Records are proud and excited to be distributing his latest release, and it gives me another good excuse to get back to Hawaii for 'business' - work, work, work..." - Jimmy Buffett

“Instrumentalists with a truly unique voice on their instrument come around very rarely. It was such a welcome gift to the world when Jake came on the scene... someone whose mastery of the ukulele is eclipsed only by the sheer joy he spreads in playing it. Jake Shimabukuro is without a doubt, one of a kind!” - Dave Koz

Listen to the hard driving "Bring Your Adz" from 'Peace Love Ukulele' here.

Chris Crocco's Fluidic Duo @ ArtsEcho Galleria

The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio + is the second outing by the terrific threesome fronted by the Virginia born-New York based guitarist Christopher Crocco, an imposing sequel to his impressive debut disc The Chris Crocco Fluid Trio.  As on his first album, a bassless trio outing, Crocco is joined by his longtime friend and mentor, saxophonist George Garzone and Cuban expatriate, current McCoy Tyner drummer Francisco Mela, along with the addition of the very capable bassist and frequent collaborator Peter Slavov.  In the years since the release of their first cd the music created by Crocco, Garzone and Mela has since developed into, in the words of Crocco, “this amazing sound and power,” noting that “we all seem to speak the same improvisational language.” Slavov has joined each of them on many occasions in the past, thereby making him the perfect plus to augment the Fluid Trio.

Crocco confesses that the album was recorded without a concept - just the desire to record the best performances of the new music he had composed since the band’s last effort.  “It was time,” he says, “but when I finished it was easy to see the titles, music, and overall vibe was a result of my own personal catharsis.” Much the result of his studies with Garzone, Crocco has come to realize that his musical objective is to find “the truth” within his art and hence he has abandoned many of the stock improvisatory tricks that often lead many artists (guitarists in particular) away from their own true identities. The resulting record is a more honest expression of the real Chris Crocco – a personal statement of his original music that reveals the true artist behind the music.

The opening track “Avenge” finds the full trio + quartet jumping right off to the races, playing an intricate uptempo line with a vengeance, guitar and tenor doubling the rhythmically charged melody in a manner reminiscent of the work of iconoclast pianist Lennie Tristano, while exchanging phrases with Mela’s drums. Each of the group’s member’s virtuosic capabilities are demonstrated with taste and rest.

“Heaven,” featuring the guitar-bass-drum trio of Crocco, Slavov and Mela, is a three tonic modified minor groove piece in the Coltrane tradition. More devilish than heavenly in mood, the tune’s loping tempo is exquisitely executed by Mela, whose assimilation of Elvin Jones’ asymmetrical drum patterns into his own personal polyrhythmic style makes him one of today’s truly original stick men.  Deceptively simple and restrained, the piece which spotlights the solo work of the leader and Slavov evinces a quiet intensity that is one of the hallmarks of the date.

Crocco’s “Silvia” – the sequel to his first album’s “To Silvia (Don’t Say Goodbye)” – is described by the composer as “the end of the novel.”  A feature for the full quartet, the brooding melancholy melody, at times reminiscent of Horace Silver’s “Peace,” showcases the beautiful tone of Garzone’s tenor.

“When It Is When” again features Crocco’s guitar in trio format with Slavov and Mela. A progressive groove that borrows from the standards of the leader’s generation opens with Crocco strumming a repeated lower register melodic line that iterates a matadorial strength and splendor, buoyed by Mela’s splashing cymbal work.  Chris’s solo finds him venturing into an eastern tinged abstract impressionism that hearkens to the relatively unheralded work of guitarists Gabor Szabo and Atilla Zoller.

The moody swinging “Trial of Time” marks the return of the quartet with Garzone and showcases the remarkable middle register work of tenor and guitar, with Chris shining brightly with a full rich tone and a relaxed bluesy feel. Calling the piece “a composition that relies on a pocket swing with a floater melody on the end,” he astutely notes that “time is relative and can be bent.”

“What It Is” is a straight ahead blues by Crocco played with Slavov and Mela on bass and drums. Played at a blistering tempo it demonstrates the leader’s uniquely personal voice, avoiding the clichéd improvisational devices that lead most guitarists’ solos to predictable places. The interaction between Chris and Francisco reveals the intuitively perceptive relationship built upon years of experience that allows for a disciplined freedom that leads the music to new and interesting places.

The minor melody “Spice Mine” is another Coltrane inspired Crocco composition. The dramatic Spanish tinged line opens up into inspired solo statements by the composer and Slavov, with Mela’s AfroCuban styled drumming constantly interacting to shift the contexts within which they are heard.

“Metal” is an entirely free improvised guitar-drums duo completed in just one take. Constructed from Crocco’s opening guitar vamp it features the sound of Mela’s cymbal on top of his snare, which is emphasized in the title. Chris notes that the feeling is “like when we first met.... two people playing as solid as one.”

Crocco’s “My Own Personal Wake” is an introspective piece that begins on a reflective note that recalls “Monk’s Mood.” The painterly composition unfolds over the featherlike canvas of Mela’s brushes, with Slavov’s bassline lending an Americana flavor that can be found in much of guitarist Bill Frissell’s finest work.

The closing “My Peace” is a duo between Crocco and Slavov, a configuration the two have played in frequently around New York.  Hymn like in mood it is an indication of the harmony with life that Chris found in his music.

The Fluid Trio + is an important new statement from Chris Crocco.  With the able assistance of George Garzone, Francisco Mela and Peter Slavov he demonstrates major advances in the development of his own musical voice. One that is personal, flowing and seeking nothing more than the truth.

G. Love To Release New Album Produced By The Avett Brothers

G. Love's new album, Fixin’ To Die, is set for release on February 22nd on Brushfire Records. Recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC, and produced by Scott and Seth Avett (The Avett Brothers), this new body of work is arguably G. Love’s most sincere and candid work to date. After a chance meeting in Boston last fall, G. Love and The Avett Brothers forged a friendship and bonded over their love of back road blues.  After performing together onstage and discovering their shared musical heritage, G. Love invited Scott and Seth Avett to not only produce his new album, but perform on it as well.
The result is Fixin’ To Die, a collection of G. Love originals, rearranged traditionals, and a classic cover, many simmering for over a decade, all sharing a common goal: to strip away all pretense and capture the original spirit and sound G. Love has cultivated over his entire career but never fully embraced until now. From the ragged jangle of its opener “Milk & Sugar” and floorboard stomp of Bukka White’sFixin’ To Die,” over the loping lilt of “Home” and longing for “Katie Miss,” through the greasy fried “Get Goin’” and moonshine reverb of “Heaven,” to the hip shake hootenanny in Paul Simon’s infamous kiss off “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” G. Love and The Avetts deliver a life lesson in how to find a song’s sweet spot.
It was an emotional recording session and I was truly blown away by the level of focus, care and passion Scott & Seth brought to it.  It was a tremendously positive and encouraging experience. This is the most inspired I’ve ever felt making a record,” G. Love said.
As Scott Avett says, “There’s a little bit of this record on all the previous G. Love records, you just had to look for it. This is the record we all knew he should make and he could make, but again, he had to open himself to the core to make it. That’s the difference.”
G. Love will tour the U.S. extensively in support of Fixin’ To Die in 2011.

Colin Stetson To Release "New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges"

Colin Stetson is a horn player of uncommon strength, skill and genre-defying creativity.  He composes and performs otherworldly songs that combine a mastery of circular breathing technique with percussive valve-work and reed vocalisations, conveying a polyphonic solo music that combines influences as diverse as Bach, early metal, American pre-war Gospel, and the playing of Jimi Hendrix, Peter Brotzman and Albert Ayler.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges is Stetson's second solo record and his first for Constellation.  Colin has been making his mark as a staggering solo performer for several years now, in front of audiences small and large, from intimate jazz and experimental music venues to big stages, whether opening for Arcade Fire or The National, or at jazz and new music festivals like Moers and London Jazz Fest.  His talents have been widely recognised and employed by artists as diverse as Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, Antibalas and Bon Iver.  His live solo performances are absolutely stunning and uncategorisable and he conveys a commensurate intensity and iconoclasm on this new studio album of original material.

New History Warfare Vol. 2: Judges was recorded entirely live in the studio at Montréal's Hotel2Tango, with no overdubs or looping pedals, using over 20 mics positioned close and far throughout the live room.  Guest vocals by Laurie Anderson and Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond) are the only exceptions to this rule, along with one brief french horn suite ("All The Days I've Missed You") that was multi-tracked by Colin.

Stetson is able to weave an uninterrupted flow of arpeggiated swirls and chordal progressions while simultaneously singing yearning melodic lines through the reed of his horn - a technically powerful combination, exponentially intensified by Colin's innate sense of pace, phrasing and trajectory.  Stetson approaches his solo work with one foot firmly rooted in a pop sensibility, harmonically and in terms of overall song structure - a sensibility on fine display in longer pieces like "Judges", "The Stars In His Head (Dark Lights Remix)" , "Clothed In The Skin Of The Dead" and "Fear Of The Unknown And The Blazing Sun".  He can paint short, ecstatic spirals of rapid-fire ostinati that move through the entire range of the instrument, full of subtle rhythmic shifts and filigree, as with "The Righteous Wrath Of An Honourable Man", "From No Part Of Me Could I Summon A Voice" and "A Dream Of Water", all of which clock in at the 2-3 minute range (and the last of which features a spoken word vocal by Laurie Anderson).  Colin can also shred, especially when rallying the full force of the bass saxophone, whether in the foghorn blasts that open the album or the gasping syncopated pulse of "Red Horse (Judges II)".  The seamless, steamy, multi-timbral drone that underpins Shara Worden's guest vocal on "Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes" demonstrates another side of Colin's mastery and sensibility.

The sessions were co-produced by Stetson and Shahzad Ismaily and engineered by Efrim Menuck at the Hotel2Tango, then taken to Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik and mixed by Ben Frost, the critically acclaimed experimental electronic/ambient composer and producer whose shared influences of minimalism, noise and black metal made him the perfect choice for a bold and unconventional approach to the raw material.  Frost pushes and pans different mic signals to the fore from song to song (and within songs), eliciting a cornucopia of details and extremes in Colin's playing and highlighting the complexity of sounds generated by a single horn in Stetson's hands.  Rhythms are formed by clicking keys, minute textures are brought forward by running ambient mics extremely hot, and low end is at times pushed fully into the red to devastating effect.  Mastering by Mell Dettmer provides the final touch.

The result is a highly original, experimental and thrilling record that fires on all levels: as a document of an astoundingly strong and gifted player, as a compositional tour-de-force, and as a studio production bursting with intensity and inventiveness: a challenging work that resists classification but remains accessible to music lovers of many stripes.

Copyright Criminals Airs on November 29th on PBS

Copyright Criminals, the acclaimed documentary that charts the history of sampling in hip-hop and its modern clashes with outdated copyright law, will air on PBS’ Emmy Award-winning series “Independent Lens” the week of Nov. 29 (check local listings).

The film features in-depth interviews with Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Hank Shocklee, De La Soul, funk pioneer George Clinton, James Brown’s “Funky Drummer” Clyde Stubblefield, producer Steve Albini and many others.

Filmmakers Benjamin Franzen and Kembrew McLeod showcase not only hip-hop sampling’s pioneering artists, but also those whose work has been sampled thoroughly. Ultimately, they ask how should we fix our copyright laws to both encourage creativity with 21st century tools and still ensure that “original” creators get paid for their work?

The broadcast comes as creative technology advances on a near-weekly basis. When the last copyright law was passed in 1998, only 26 percent of homes had Internet access. Today, young people can film, soundtrack, edit and distribute movies globally, all from their mobile phones.

Meanwhile, artists like Girl Talk are shining bright lights on issues of copyright and creativity. Girl Talk’s new album, All Day, released for free Nov. 15, includes more than 350 samples.

Copyright Criminals’ innovative visuals include video remixes by Eclectic Method that illustrate for the viewer precisely what snippets of sound they’re hearing in dense sampling collages.

The film, which Rolling Stone’s Rob Sheffield called “amazing,” was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival. USA Today called Copyright Criminals “a compelling and insightful documentary illuminating both sides of a hotly debated issue.”

Director and producer Benjamin Franzen is the owner of the Atlanta-based production company Changing Images. Executive producer and writer Kembrew McLeod is an associate professor of communications studies at the University of Iowa, and author of Freedom of Expression®: Resistance and Repression in the Age of Intellectual Property, among other books.

BRAIDS Announce North American 2011 Winter Tour

BRAIDS was formed by four best friends in their last year of High School in Calgary, Alberta. Convincing one another to skip university, they stayed in the garage all year and practiced obsessively, even while their fingers froze during the cold prairie winters. Then, at only 18 years old, they took the bold step of moving across the country together to Montreal, where they began crafting their self recorded/self produced debut album Native Speaker.

Oscillating between density and spaciousness, BRAIDS' sound is not easy to define. The four members construct music which is ample and rolling, perhaps alluding to the landscapes of their youth, but filled with radical texture and startling immediacy, an influence of their more recent surroundings. Delicate layering gives their experimental pop epics just enough breath to playfully explore the depth of ambient melody. Though BRAIDS dives into moments of deep obscurity and sonic experimentation, there remains embedded within the music the hypnosis of an unforgettable pop tune.

Native Speaker, is the accumulation of months of meticulous craft-work to properly capture the band's entrancing live performance. The albums' songs were tested and shaped through numerous performances and lyrical massages, resulting in work that is brilliant in detail and structure. Averaging over 6 minutes and never coming in under 4, the tracks on Native Speakermaintain a deep seeded focus.

BRAIDS has an unusually collaborative dynamic, generating all of their sweeping sounds live in a synergistic maelstrom. Even their name, BRAIDS, evokes a feeling of something continuous and progressive, yet lush and intertwining. It implies the interweaving of all four members' musical ideas, favoring collective and equal input.

On January 18, 2011 BRAIDS is putting forth their debut album Native Speaker, a reflection of coming of age for the four intricately linked musicians. It captures a period of innocence and a period of change, yet comes off as strikingly mature beyond their years. Most importantly, it displays a yearning and striving to break through, an ambitious debut for a young band just getting started.

BRAIDS NORTH AMERICAN TOUR DATES

11-30 New York, NY - Knitting Factory ^
12-01 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom ^
02-04 Dallas, TX - The Nightmare *
02-05 Austin, TX - The Mohawk *
02-07 Atlanta, GA - The Masquerade *
02-08 Tallahassee, FL - Club Downunder *
02-09 Columbia, SC - New Brookland Tavern *
02-10 Durham, NC - Duke Coffeehouse (Duke University) *
02-11 Washington, DC - Rock and Roll Hotel *
02-12 Brooklyn, NY - Knitting Factory *
02-13 Philadelphia, PA - Kung Fu Necktie *
02-16 New York, NY - Mercury Lounge *
02-17 Allston, MA - Brighton Music Hall *
02-18 Montreal, Quebec - Il Motore *
02-21 Columbus, OH - Skully's Music Diner *
02-22 Urbana, IL - The Canopy *
02-23 Iowa City, IA - Gabe's *
02-24 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry *
02-25 Madison, WI - Der Rathskellar (University of Wisconsin) *
02-26 Chicago, IL - Subterranean *
03-01 Seattle, WA - Chop Suey *
03-02 Portland, OR - Holocene *
03-04 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop *
03-05 Los Angeles, CA - Troubadour *

^ with the Radio Dept. * with Baths, Star Slinger